At UFC 285: The main event Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane stole the show and two new champions were crowned but there were numerous other significant victories throughout the evening. Some of these winners only succeeded in preserving their octagon careers, while others will likely go into legitimate title contention as a result of their victories.
#1 The UFC Heavyweight Championship
The man who will be talked about the most after UFC 285 is unquestionably Jon Jones, even though it’s debatable that another fighter ought to be viewed as Saturday’s biggest victor.
In order to win the vacant heavyweight title, the former king of the light heavyweight division turned in one of his best performances in a long time, destroying Ciryl Gane with unnerving ease in the first round.
Jones was quickly hailed as the “GOAT” on social media after the fight by Jon Anik on the promotion’s various pages. The fact that this was a fantastic performance is undeniable, even though it is arguable.
Completely out-classing Gane, knocking him to the ground with ease, and in just over two minutes, submitting him with a guillotine choke.
Though he has assumed leadership within the UFC. Fans will likely place him ahead of Ngannou in the long run if he succeeds in defeating former champion Stipe Miocic next, which shouldn’t be too difficult.
#2 The UFC Flyweight Championship
It might be argued that Alexa Grasso was UFC 285’s biggest victor, despite the fact that she is unlikely to receive the same level of media recognition as Jon Jones.
In the upcoming instant rematch, Grasso most certainly has to contend with a revitalized and enraged Shevchenko. Yet, after this victory, no one will ever again write the Mexicans off.
Most importantly, she will always be recognized as a UFC champion who staged one of the biggest upsets in the history of the organization. It makes her the biggest winner not just last night but also thus far in 2023.
#3 Mateusz Gamrot defeated Jalin Turner
Mateusz Gamrot may have been the competitor who took the largest chance at UFC 285.
Less than a month prior to the fight, the Polish lightweight agreed to fight Jalin Turner. He entered the fight with a lot to lose and little to gain because “The Tarantula” was ranked three spots behind him.
Turner, who had won his previous five fights, appeared to be a legitimately difficult matchup for “Gamer” because of his significant height and reach advantage.
Gamrot, however, had a strong performance when it mattered most. Turner did score some of his signature shots from outside, so things weren’t always simple for him. Yet, in the end, his takedowns, toughness, and ground work helped him win a split decision.
#4 Cody Garbrandt defeated Trevin Jones in a UFC bantamweight match
Cody Garbrandt had his back against the wall Thursday night considering he had dropped his previous two fights and was 1-5 in his previous six. No Love’s UFC career might have ended if he had lost to Trevin Jones.
Fortunately for the former bantamweight champion, he seemed to turn back the clock and put on one of his best performances recently to win a unanimous decision.
Although Jones didn’t really contribute in the first two rounds, where Garbrandt sniped at him with some effective strokes, things started to pick up in the third.
‘No Love’ was wounded by a left-right combination, and given his recent performances, his demise wouldn’t have been unexpected. He persevered, however, and held on for a resounding triumph by displaying some unexpected tenacity and durability.
#5 Shavkat Rakhmonov triumphed over Geoff Neal
Outside of the two championship fights Friday night, it’s safe to say that unbeaten welterweight Shavkat Rakhmonov made the biggest stride toward UFC title contention.
With Geoff Neal, “Nomad” created an instant classic. For almost three rounds, the two men traded powerful blows before Rakhmonov choked “Handz of Steel” to death with just under a minute left in the fight.
Neal entered the fight ranked seventh in the division, so it’s likely that Rakhmonov will move up at least two spots from his present position of ninth when the rankings are revised this week.
What was more significant, though, was the manner in which he had won. Unlike Rakhmonov’s faultless performance against Neil Magny, this performance lacked some flaws. Neal fired several powerful bullets at the Kazakh boxer, who was likely hit multiple times.
Despite this, he emerged victorious in the third round, crushing his opponent from the plum clinch before applying the fight-ending choke. He did this by demonstrating the heart and tenacity required of a champion.